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Manifold Destiny

Arabs at an American Crossroads of Exceptional Rule

John Tofik Karam (author)

ISBN: 9780826501332

Publication Date: Dec 2020

Format: Hardback

Also available as: Paperback  

At the border where Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina meet under the scrutiny of the US and Mercosur (the large South American trade bloc), Arabs have long been agents of what author John Tofik Karam calls a "manifold destiny". In this, Karam casts Arab communities in Latin America as circumstantial protagonists of a hemispheric saga.
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  • Table of Contents
  • Author Biography
  • Customer Reviews
At the border where Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina meet under the scrutiny of the U.S. and Mercosur (the large South American trade bloc), Arabs have long been agents of what author John Tofik Karam calls a 'manifold destiny.' In this, Karam casts Arab communities in Latin America as circumstantial protagonists of a hemispheric saga.

For the more than six decades since they started settling at the border where Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina meet, Arabs have animated the hemisphere. Their transnational economic and social projects reveal a heretofore unacknowledged venue of exceptional rule in which the community accommodates and abides multiple states' varied suspensions of norms and laws. Arabs set up businesses and community centers at the border under authoritarian military governments between the 1950s and 1980s; thereafter, when denied full democratic enfranchisement, they instead underwent increasing surveillance from the 1990s to today. Karam reveals an unfinished history of exceptional rule and Arab accommodation from an authoritarian past to a counterterrorist present.

Karam's riveting account draws on anthropological and historical research from each side of this triple border, as well as from the U.S-where government bureaucrats still suspect Arabs at the border of would-be terrorist subversion. Offering a fresh understanding of the hemisphere, Manifold Destiny brings the transnational turn of Middle Eastern Studies to bear upon the fields of American Studies, Brazilian Studies, and Latin American Studies.

Reviews

A groundbreaking, rigorous analysis of a group of migrants that has been overly scrutinized by intelligence operatives and the media yet understudied by scholars. Extremely timely and likely to remain relevant for a long time." - Christina E. Civantos, author of The Afterlife of al-Andalus: Muslim Iberia in Contemporary Arab and Hispanic Narratives (2017) and Between Argentines and Arabs:  Argentine Orientalism, Arab Immigrants, and the Writing of Identity (2006)
Pages 272
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Dec 2020
Publisher Vanderbilt University Press
Subject/s History of the Americas   Social & cultural anthropology   Migration, immigration & emigration   Ethnic minorities & multicultural studies   Population & demography  
  • Move Over Manifest Destiny
  • Part I:Authoritarian Legacies (1960s-1990s)
  • Chapter One: Semiperipheral Marches
  • Chapter Two: Third World Limits
  • Chapter Three: Test of Faith
  • Part II: Counterterrorist Liaisons (1990s-2010s)
  • Chapter Four: Free Trade Security
  • Chapter Five: Beginning 'War Without End'
  • Chapter Six: Speculative Accounts
  • Make America Exceptional Again?
  • Acronyms
  • References
  • Endnotes
John Tofik Karam is acting director of the Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he is an associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese as well. Funded by the Fulbright program and the NEH, his work won awards from the Arab American National Museum and the Brazilian Studies Association, and was translated into Arabic and Portuguese.

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